Expedition Balance uses yoga, meditation to help veterans unwind


The Houston-based nonprofit Expedition Balance gives veterans an opportunity to gather for multiday outdoor retreats focused on mental health and self-care. Veterans do not have to live in Houston to join. (Photos courtesy Expedition Balance)
The Houston-based nonprofit Expedition Balance gives veterans an opportunity to gather for multiday outdoor retreats focused on mental health and self-care. Veterans do not have to live in Houston to join. (Photos courtesy Expedition Balance)

The Houston-based nonprofit Expedition Balance gives veterans an opportunity to gather for multiday outdoor retreats focused on mental health and self-care. Veterans do not have to live in Houston to join. (Photos courtesy Expedition Balance)

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Yoga classes are a core part of what Expedition Balance focuses on.
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Carl Salazar, a Navy veteran, founded Expedition Balance in 2010.
Over the 10 years running the Houston-based nonprofit Expedition Balance, founder Carl Salazar said he has had many meaningful moments with veterans.

The nonprofit—launched in 2010 as a way to bring veterans together for meditation, yoga and other mental health-focused activities—has helped many veterans work through moments of crisis, Salazar said.

“The whole thing was, and still is, just to offer people tools to want to keep staying alive,” he said.

A Navy veteran, Salazar said his journey to help veterans started out with him looking for some place to volunteer his time. He said he opted to launch his own group when he realized the services he was looking for—namely veteran-focused meditation and yoga—did not exist.

“I really wanted to kind of take the easier path, but eventually I just felt a pull to do something. It was like the call to service again that I had when I was 17,” he said.


Expedition Balance also hosts several retreats over the course of the year, during which a group of usually 10-18 veterans embark on a multiday outdoor journey that includes exercise, bonding and learning about self-care. Retreats typically, but not always, take place in Texas.

“For some folks ... there’s been a disconnect between them and their bodies, and so hiking and things like that are a way to bring that back,” Salazar said.

Upcoming retreats are being planned for 2022, though details are still being ironed out.

The staff who helps Expedition Balance are all volunteers, and past retreats have also included nutritionists and art therapists. All donations to the nonprofit go to programming, Salazar said.

Although meditation and yoga may not be a cure on their own, Salazar said the broader experience of socializing with other veterans in a mental health-focused environment can make a real difference.

“I think this is the most important thing, honestly—the communication they have between themselves on their own, even without us being involved,” Salazar said.

How to help

There are several ways people can help Expedition Balance with its mission.

Donate: Donations can be made on the group’s website.

Volunteer: Opportunities for future events are open, especially from yoga and meditation teachers.

Referrals: Founder Carl Salazar said readers should encourage veterans who could benefit from the nonprofit to reach out.

Business help: Businesses can offer to host fundraisers for the group.


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